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Art: Why does every anime series under the sun have to have a fan-service episode? An episode in which the cast all wander around in swimwear or less for no real reason? It's so low-brow.Art: Absolutely.
Pip: Shall we confirm that by watching it again?
Simply put, an episode where the cast decided to take a break and go to the beach or a swimming pool for some wet and splashy fun.
Often combined with or immediately following a Recap Episode, the Beach Episode exists solely for the purpose of getting the female (and sometimes males too) cast into bathing suits. Sadly for the fanboys, beach episodes are usually extreme examples of Filler and treated accordingly.
Common in, but hardly limited to, anime series. Often shows up in Side-Story Bonus Art.
In anime and live-action television, a Beach Episode might overlap with the Vacation Episode, usually as a trip to a tropical locale.
Expect one of the characters, usually a female, to exclaim "It's the ocean!" when the gang first arrives on the scene
Note: It sometimes occurs that the Beach Episode is interrupted by the actual plot of the story. For example, the heroes are taking their well deserved beach trip when the villains decide to show up and cause trouble.
Sometimes you'll meet the Surfer Dude here. Also a good spot for a random Beauty Contest. Smashing Watermelons is a popular party game, as is volleyball. And since people usually go barefoot at the beach, don't be surprised if some Foot Focus shows up. Also expect some Beachcombing.
- In the series of campaign advertisements of Orangina, they made one which set in the beach... with animal people. Compare it to the older commercials where it was all about people in bottle costumes. This ad then became the basis for the newer commercials of the campaign.
- A trailer for Warner Home Video had a short clip from Tom and Jerry cartoon, "Salt Water Tabby" in which Jerry traps Tom inside a beach umbrella before allowing a crab to run into Tom's suit, which pinches Tom's ass, making Tom scream and jump with the umbrella (which he is stuck in) peak landing in the sand leaving him upside down. The crab then makes a flap in Tom's bathing suit and jumps out, showing the "Coming Soon from warner home video" bumper where Tom's ass would be. This, however, was a preview for a brand new Tom and Jerry'' DVD movie (from a recently released Leap Frog educational DVD).
- A trailer for Warner Home Video had a short clip from a earlier Tom and Jerry cartoon, "Salt Water Tabby." After being trapped inside a beach umbrella by Jerry, Tom finds himself jumping into the air in pair with his umbrella tip landing in the sand after a vicious crab pinches his backside. Then the crab cuts out of Tom's suit by creating a square flap, with the "coming soon from warner home video" behind it. This, however, was a preview for a brand new Tom and Jerry'' DVD movie (from a recently released Leap Frog educational DVD.
- The post-Zero Hour Legion of Super-Heroes comic has a Beach Issue with Legionnaires #77, when most of the Legion takes a vacation on the resort planet Summer World. This was the outgoing creative team's swan song, giving the kids one last nice day of Silver Age-ity fun times before the incoming creative team would turn everything Darker and Edgier with a story called "Legion of the Damned." Sigh.
- In the general spirit of the trope, we also have Legionnaires #7, in which the kids take a vacation in Atlantis, allowing for much swimsuit fun.
- The second issue of the first ongoing Gen 13 comics series is a veritable beach/swimsuit extravaganza, made even more notable by the revelation of a major cast member as a homosexual.
- Gold Digger, already a fanservice-laden comic, has a "Summer Annual" of pinup beach pictures and short comics drawn by a variety of artists.
- Hellblazer. Subverted in that it quickly turns into Nightmare Fuel. Luckily it was All Just a Dream.
- Marvel had several Swimsuit Specials in the 90's featuring such exotic locales as Dinosaur Island, Madripoor, and the Dark Side of the Moon.
- A lighter issue of Strangers in Paradise takes place on the beach following a serious story arc.
- The main characters of Scott Pilgrim go to the beach in Scott Pilgrim Gets It Together. The sequence is the only coloured part of the otherwise black-and-white series.
- There is one of these in the Fanfiction More Than Human that actually advances the plot.
- Used in Seduction to advance the plot.
- In Kyon: Big Damn Hero, the SOS Brigade has one of these arranged for the weekend after Kyon went back in time to create a massive stable time loop and getting 96 on a Math test.
- Ultimate Spider Woman: In between fighting supervillains and trying to juggle everything going on in her personal life, Mary Jane Watson needed a break. She got one at first... but then one of her enemies showed up and she was forced to don her Spider-Woman costume anyway. Go figure.
- The fancomic Roommates has one too. Being heavy on Fan Service this surprises nobody.
Films -- Live-Action
- Consider the plethora of Beachy movies that came out in the 60's, nearly all, seemingly, starring Annette Funicello and/or Frankie Avalon. The list includes (but is not limited to) How to Stuff a Wild Bikini, Beach Blanket Bingo, Bikini Beach, Muscle Beach Party, and the eponymous, Beach Party. Not much fanservice by today's standards, perhaps, but at the time, they were consider passably risqué.
- See also Gidget, its movie sequels, and the subsequent TV series.
- Into the Blue has Jessica Alba wearing a bikini, but, as Robot Chicken notes, not much of a plot.
- Revenge of the Nerds II: Nerds in Paradise
- Can a non-visual book have a Beach Episode? Apparently so! In Larry Bond's First Team series, the main character, basically a Cowboy Cop of spies, once refuses to meet his overseer anywhere but on a beach. In a Middle Eastern country where women's swimsuits come in only two sizes: tiny, and microscopic. And she does it! In another scene, one of his female agents is wearing a tiny Wicked Weasel bikini.
- Bionicle has absolutely No Hugging, No Kissing, all Matoran are Asexual, the creators have never hinted at any romantic interactions between Macku and Hewkii, and they absolutely, most definitely did not dedicate an entire Beach Episode to them! And even if they did, the two certainly would not have had an Almost Kiss! I don't know where the fangirls get all these silly ideas from....
- The current arc in Treading Ground takes place on a beach, complete with skimpy swimsuits, jell-o wrestling, and Accidental Pervert action.
- ickle and Lardee from My Milk Toof take a trip to the swimming pool.
- Sluggy Freelance has done a couple arcs at the beach. However, those contain plot, and the closest to a gratuitous beach episode happens not for the main cast but for the mostly nameless employees of an antagonistic evil organisation. For some reason.
- Monsterful features a page of the Sexy Topaz with a sexier mermaid friend at the beach here. Plus a beach episode has been announced for later.
- Spanish webcomic ¡Eh, tío! has also a story arc in the beach. Here the author explains that this is not to attract readers, but only for pure vice.
- For about a week, Schlock Mercenary had comics with two female characters (one of whom had Gag Boobs) talking in bikinis. This was Lampshaded.
- TRU-Life Adventures gave a store refit as an excuse to send the staff to a nearby water park for a story arc.
- Present in Bittersweet Candy Bowl, although it has the excuse of being part of the Summer Arc..
- Questionable Content parodied this in the random-filler-art strip the night before the artist's wedding.
- Wapsi Square featured a brief arc on a sandbar somewhere in the Bermuda Triangle starting here.
- Issue 8 of Sonichu has a beach episode. While part of the story does drive part of the main plot, it was mostly done for the (wholly inappropriate) Fan Service.
- Lonelygirl15, "At the Beach". Subverted in an earlier episode, "The Perfect Beach", which has an innocuous sounding description and starts cheerfully enough, only to pull a shock twist ending so severe that some fans accused the show of Jumping the Shark.
- Charlyandjosh had "Message in a bottle."
- The U.S. 2008 Presidential Election had one of these. In between serious debates on Energy Policy, Climate Change, Terrorism, and Healthcare Reform, someone leaked a picture of President Barack Obama in a swimsuit and a media storm ensued. All serious discussions were put on hold for the day while every major news network focused on then-Senator Obama's washboard abs. Only in America.
- And then, a couple weeks later when Sarah Palin was announced as the Republican Vice Presidential nominee, the media spent another day focused on a clearly faked picture of her in a bikini holding a gun.